Photo by Joe Lanane
New shops expected to begin opening by November
Avery Ranch residents will soon have an array of new retail offerings as developers finalize deals to complete the community’s commercial corridor.
Two new retail centers—or 43,500 square feet of new shopping space—will fill the final void at The Shops at Avery Ranch, said Matt Marshall, StoneCrest Investments project leasing director. Development deals have already been signed with Kidspa Austin, Avery Ranch Dance & Yoga, Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, Realty Austin, Tony C’s Pizza & Wine Bar, The League Kitchen & Tavern and Time Masters Clock & Watch Repair. An agreement is also pending with other retailers to fill the shops to capacity before even being fully constructed.
Marshall has sought out tenants to fill the four commercial corners at Avery Ranch Boulevard and Parmer Lane since the master-planned community began being developed, he said. The area has been particularly attractive to retailers, Marshall said, because it has been so underserved and because of Avery Ranch residents’ broad income base, as houses typically range between $200,000 and $800,000.
“Like any good retail developer will tell you, we basically chase the rooftops,” he said. “So we carved out those four corners specifically for commercial use.”
The Avery Ranch brand is catching the attention of business owners from some of Austin’s premier commercial corridors.
Owner Tony Ciola has been working with StoneCrest the past two years to bring Tony C’s to Avery Ranch, he said. The modern Italian restaurant already has one location in Lakeway, but the large number of affluent technology sector employees in North Austin makes the area ideal for the higher-end restaurant, Ciola said.
“We do a great job of looking at demographic studies, and there’s a lot of similarities between Lakeway and Avery Ranch—only Avery Ranch features a lot more people in a much more condensed area,” he said. “Tony C’s will bring an urban feel to a suburban setting.”
Tony C’s will open by late November, he said.
The new retail center in February will also become the second home for The League Kitchen & Tavern, a concept Ciola created with business partner Creed Ford. Ciola said they chose The Shops at Avery Ranch because it is easily accessible to residents traveling north on Parmer Lane on their way home from work.
And sometimes such conveniences make all the difference between business success and failure, said Joe Harper, Texas State University Small Business Development Center executive director. Ease of access aside, Harper stresses the need for research before small-business owners settle on any given site.
“It’s all about being accessible to your primary target market,” Harper said. “Once you define the market you’re targeting, then look at the geography and position yourself in the pathway of the buyer. That’s why location becomes so important.”
Residential demand also works in his favor.
“I’m pretty happy with what we have,” said Steve Roebuck, Avery Ranch Homeowners Association president, ‘’but more restaurants would be nice.”
By creating what Marshall called a major neighborhood center for Avery Ranch, residents often can remain in their own neighborhood for goods and services. Dr. Elizabeth Lowery took notice of the area’s potential while driving to work, and by 2005 she had her own dental practice open in the Plaza at Avery Ranch.
“It was not as developed at that time … and I thought it would be a good place to look over and see that there’s a dentist,” Lowery said. “It had schools, businesses, lots of rooftops. It just seemed to have all the things you look for when you decide to open a business.”
The location proved potent as Lowery, an Avery Ranch resident since 2008, was forced to relocate in June across Parmer Lane in a new, much larger stand-alone structure.
“I think there’s a lot of pride in the community,” Lowery said. “People care about the neighborhood and tend to stay local.”
In fact, the HOA offers programs designed to entertain Avery Ranch residents without leaving the neighborhood, Roebuck said, particularly during the holidays.
There were comparatively fewer residents when Barry Boes opened Waterloo Ice House Avery Ranch nearly six years ago. But, as the area grows near capacity, residents will not hesitate to drive a little farther for the best option, he said.
“There’s a lot of places around now,” Boes said. “Most people won’t mind driving three minutes versus one minute away.”
That is only a testament to Avery Ranch’s development success, Marshall said, since work first began on the master plan community in the late 1990s.
“Fast forward to today, 14 years later, and we’re starting to see the benefits of a lot of good, hard work,” he said.